Set in the near future, Air stars Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) and Djimon Honsou (Blood Diamond) as two engineers tasked with preserving the remnants of mankind after nuclear war has rendered the Earth’s atmosphere unbreathable. Surviving through periodic spates of suspended animation, the pair must battle both each other and themselves, all the while trying to keep the end goal in sight; to reestablish society as it once was.
After waking from one of their regular six month comas, Bauer (Reedus) and Cartwright (Honsou), set about the basic checks and maintenance of the facility they were put in charge of following the decimation of the human race. The facility contains humans deemed essential for the future of the planet; scientists, doctors, academics etc. This an interesting concept, and raises issues similar to other films such as 90s classic Deep Impact (which I personally have always preferred to Armageddon, regardless of soundtrack), one being who would actually be the best group of people to reboot mankind, another being can we actually place an inherent value on people? Existentialism aside, we do see a dynamic develop where Bauer becomes increasingly bitter at the fact that all these sleeping people have been deemed valuable to humanity as a whole, whereas he feels like a simple tool further their existence, unable to live a valuable life of his own choosing.
This bitterness of course leads to a breakdown between the co-workers, not helped by Cartwright’s previously unknown personal connection to one of their wards. The performances are good, but it feels like director Christian Cantamessa is trying to show the audience the desperate breakdown of a relationship between two people who are dependent on one another, yet you never feel like the characters connect on a great enough level to achieve this. The ‘dramatic’ scenes feel quite underwhelming, and lack the ability to grip anyone looking on.
I like the casting, Reedus and Honsou make for a nice balancing act, the former being a dejected realist, the latter hopeful yet deluded. Where Air falls down is the lack of bravery to really push the boat out; as previously mentioned the themes are tried and tested, and I was hoping Cantamessa would be able to take them in a fresh direction. I reviewed a film a few months ago called Infini, another sci-fi with great promise, but in the end it just didn’t make a lot of sense. What it did have though was raw emotion, which is what I think Air lacks, and what could ultimately have made me buy into it. Unfortunately, just like Infini, I feel it will be consigned to the ever increasing heap of science fiction also-rans.
2 / 5
Dir: Christan Cantamessa
Scr: Christan Cantamessa, Chris Pasetto
Cast: Norman Reedus, Djimon Honsou, Sandrine Holt
Prd: David Alpert, Rian Cahill, Bailey Conway, Chris Ferguson, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Robert Kirkman, Marlaina Mah, Norman Reedus, Noah Rosen
DOP: Norm Li
Music: Edo Van Breeman
Run time: 95 mins
Air is out now on DVD.